Bruschi tries to find his niche at 36

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has said that he’s approaching the balance of his NFL career one year at a time.

But, as with every other aging player, there’s a chance that Bruschi won’t get to make the decision to walk away on his own.

The chance in Bruschi’s case might not be significant, but it’s definitely there.

Indeed, Bruschi is starting to sound like a guy who isn’t quite sure how he fits in to the only team for which he has ever played.

“We’re in training camp right now and roles are being defined, and I know we have a lot of good inside linebackers,” Bruschi said, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.

Complicating matters is that Bruschi has participated only in no-contact walk-through practices.  “[I] just had to take care of a few things,” Bruschi said.  “You get a little bit older
and you have to mend some aches and some pains.  That’s just
why it took a little while longer for me to get out here, but I’m
feeling better now and hopefully, I can get back to work.”

In the interim, second-year linebacker Jerod Mayo has become the leader of the defense, filling the role that Bruschi previously occupied.

We doubt that the Patriots would cut Bruschi, but circumstances might nudge him to choose to make his exit.  Whether it’s that vague sense that things have changed or a more acute fear that if he doesn’t take the initiative to call it quits he might not get to make that decision, we won’t be shocked in hindsight if at some point between now and Labor Day we all learn that the 36-year-old’s year-to-year decision-making process has pointed to the conclusion that this year is the year to call it quits.

17 responses to “Bruschi tries to find his niche at 36

  1. I’ve been noting this possibility for a month or so. If the Pats had the depth/talent at 3-4 OLB that they’ve had in the past and were going to be playing primarily 3-4 this year, Bruschi could still contribute a lot to the team (though probably not so much elsewhere, at this point). But the apparent, if temporary, “shift” to more 4-3 sets and consequent lack of open slots for pure ILBs is certainly putting the squeeze on a 6’1″, 247 lb guy who’s 36 years old.
    OTOH, he could probably still be good at 4-3 MLB and his camp competition, aside from Mayo and Guyton (who also plays outside), appears to be only Paris Lenon and Eric Alexander. It certainly wouldn’t be shocking for him to beat those guys out on the depth chart.
    My guess is that, if he’s not clearly ahead for the #3 ILB by the first round of cuts, he does retire.

  2. “He could step aside and take over the videotaping department”
    I’m not sure he still has the speed necessary to run from league officials with a heavy camera on his back. Those guys have short careers…

  3. Barring injuries Bruschi will not see a lot of playing time, but the Pats can still use him to spell Mayo and Guyton at ILB. I doubt he’ll decide that only getting 15 or so snaps a game is not enough for him. The other potential roster players at ILB are Lenon and Alexander, and although they may have some value on special teams, I think the Pats would still rather see Bruschi at ILB (and would probably like to avoid moving Adalius Thomas inside again).

  4. Hey Tedy
    Keep playing – Bill always has the best interest of his players. He makes it comfortable.
    Best,
    Ted Johnson

  5. @ whywerule —
    That’s pretty much what I was saying. If he’s in a position to get 15 snaps per game, he’s clearly the #3 ILB. And he could easily be there against the likes of Lenon and Alexander. But, if either of those guys passes him yet in camp/pre-season, I think he seriously considers hanging up the cleats.

  6. “We doubt that the Patriots would cut Bruschi…” Coach B will cut ANYONE if he thinks it will improve his team. One of the things he does best is not let emotion cloud his judgement (listening Florio?).

  7. Unless they are high on Paris Lenon or made a signing over the weekend that I don’t know about, I don’t see how they cut Bruschi, regardless of his age. He provides a measure of veteran experience and knowledge, albeit on old, slow legs.
    GO PATS.

  8. How many of you jerk-wad Patriots haters would have the balls to come back and play professional football after having a stroke and having the hole in your heart that caused it surgically repaired? I count … none. Grow the hell up.
    And, yes, Kraft and Belichick made Bruschi get many doctors approvals. Not just … “it’ll probably be OK” but “absolutely cleared to play.”
    If he stays he won’t be playing every down anymore. Losing him and Vrabel in the same year would create a huge leadership void in the LB corps, but they’ll cope. If Bruschi retires, he and Kraft and Belichick will work it out so it comes gracefully.

  9. Bruschi started as a 4-3 down lineman and has played both outside and inside in the 4-3 under Parcels and Carroll and with the current staff as well.
    He has been with the team since Belichick took over in 2000 and his experience in the defense is invaluable.
    The only reason he isn’t out there now is that he does not need a camp full of 2-a-days at this point in his career.
    Barring injury, he will be on the roster this season.

  10. Coach Belichick once said in an interview.. “If you look up the definition of Football in a dictionary you would find a picture of Ted Bruschi.”
    GB3 has nailed it. “Passion, commitment, heart and talent.” Nice one.
    Let’s not forget that Tedy negotiates his own contracts. And his commitments to the community are countless.
    Regardless of what you decide Tedy, you will forever be in the hearts of all Pats fans.
    PS: Does anyone else think that Coach Bruschi has a good ring to it? He’ll be brought in to be a defensive coach.. no question.

  11. Looks like a lifetime of taking steroids has finally caught up with “Big Head” Bruschi.
    The Pats defense won’t be anything special this season, with or without Bruschi.

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